The Latest! Rdio, Soju, Manic, Archuleta, Trapped In the Closet, KCRW, Musk, Madonna…

These are the stories we’re tracking late in the day. Check back for late-evening and early-morning developments.

Looks like Rdio is cooking a mobile-focused launch; look for an imminent announcement.

There’s another music celeb jumping into the startup game.  Justin Bieber is now an investor in Soju Studios, a charitable gaming concept.  Bieber is joining Ellen Degeneres to support the first title, WeTopia.

They were posing as rap executives, but the hits were of a different sort.  Now, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and DC Metropolitan Police have shut down Manic Enterprises, along with 70 ‘label execs’ and $7 million worth of narcotics.

Sorta like Ma$e, but only for two years.  Now, David Archuleta is putting his singing career on hold for a mandatory Mormon mission.

It was written, but now what?  R. Kelly has finished penning 32 additional chapters for the classic hip-hopera, ‘Trapped In the Closet,’ and is now seeking backers to take things to the next level.

Actually, this is rocket science.  KCRW‘s latest guest DJ is SpaceX (and Tesla) CEO Elon Musk, who’ll share his latest space-age playlists.  SpaceX is currently working on an unmanned space capsule that will fly to the International Space Station next year.  

Spanish police have made an arrest in connection with the leak of Madonna‘s latest single, “Gimme All Your Luvin,” slated for a special Super Bowl debut.  So far, this is being identified as being a fan with a very valuable hard drive, and police have only released the initials ‘J.M.R.’ to the media.  Which begs the question, ‘how did the fan get access to the drive in the first place?

 



Universal Music Has a New Enemy: Congressman Jared Polis…

Last year, Universal Music Group declared on war on Grooveshark, a ‘legal jihad‘ that promised to bury the company for good. And where did Universal draw its battle lines? The State of New York, where lawsuits were craftily filed against Grooveshark for pre-1972 recordings not covered by the DMCA.    

It was smart, it was evil, and a stroke of crafty lawyering designed to exploit confusing state laws on older copyrights.  And, drag the Gainesville-based Grooveshark into a faraway, expensive legal fight they probably couldn’t survive.  Welcome to corporate legal warfare, 101, where it’s all about the size of your gun (and bank account).

Except, not only has Grooveshark survived the attack, they may actually win.  And now there’s another problem with Universal’s ‘jihad': US Congress.  Earlier this month, Representative Jared Polis introduced legislation that would vastly simplify pre-1972 copyright law on recordings, which are governed by a choatic patchwork of individual state statutes. The Sound Recording Simplification Act (HR 2933) would eliminate the rat’s nest by federalizing all recording copyrights, even pre-1972 works.

Which sounds like excellent news for society, including music preservationists frequently flummoxed by arcane copyright statutes.  This would create one, nationwide body of copyright law, understandable by and applicable to every recorded work.  

And it could wipe away UMG’s lawsuit overnight.  In fact, major rights owners seem to hate the idea of simplication, especially if it throws more content into the public domain and smooths licensing friction points.  “At a recent hearing hosted by the Copyright Office, representatives of the music industry expressed extreme discomfort with changing the status of pre-1972 sound recordings,” Anandashankar Mazumdar recently wrote for the Patent, Trademark Copyright Law Daily.

But that’s not all.  Just last month, a federal judge offered a striking blow to the UMG offense.  In a far broader decision related to digital lockers, MP3tunes, and the DMCA, federal judge William H. Pauley ruled that DMCA provisions actually apply to pre-1972 recordings, and traverse state and federal laws.

Stay tuned.

 

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